Thursday, February 19, 2009

Baraonna: self-titled (Rossodisera Records, 1994)

Baraonna are a vocal quartet revisiting the Neapolitan tradition with a swing touch. The description would account for an incredibly cheap and kitsch neo-traditional pastiche, but Baraonna's attitude is quite different from this expectation. Their clean, refined and retro-sounding style might remind the most aristocratic episodes of Matia Bazar, and the perfectly controlled sopranistic vocals are pretty close too. Moreover, they share some aspects with prog/world/pop band Avion Travel: a convoluted, but higly evocative and mediterranean melodic sense; a very genteel tendency to recitation which projects the songs in a fantasized world, suspended between heartfeltness and demiurgic detachedness.

The songs of the album stand out even more for their funambolic vocal harmonies and counterpoints, which take back directly to Swingle Singers, Manhattan Transfer or, talking of Italian models, Quartetto Cetra. Their music is virtuous, sophisticated, but extremely playful: Baraonna like out-of-context quotations and musical jokes ("Fuga in re" superimposes three children melodies: "Giro giro tondo", "Fra martino campanaro" and "Ma che bel castello") and all the songs are very light and breezy.
The album contains a couple of cover versions: Paolo Conte's "Come di" and "Palconscenico" by Mauro Castelnuovo (actually a translation itself, from Julien Clerc's "Ma preference a moi"). The quartet is accompained by swingy arrangements, Spanish guitars and ethereal keyboards, which strangely enhance the elegant soberty of their sound.

Founded in 1992 by the brothers Angela, Rosella, Serena and Vito Caporale, Baraonna participated to Sanremo Festival in 1994 and won the critique award with the song "I giardini d'Alhambra". The music and the lyrics are composed by Vito and Angela with the help of their father Fulvio, a musician himself.

  1. I giardini d'Alhambra
  2. Niente swing
  3. Cola
  4. Ninna nanna d'argiento
  5. Fuite
  6. Mediterranea gente
  7. Scaramacai
  8. Comme di
  9. All'uriente
  10. Fuga in re
  11. Palcoscenico
  12. Brigante
  13. 1799
Download (192 kbps)